War suffused Roman life to a degree unparalleled in other ancient societies. Through a combination of obsessive discipline and frenzied (though carefully orchestrated) brutality, Rome's armies conquered most of the lands stretching from Scotland to Syria, and the Black Sea to Gibraltar. The place of war in Roman culture has been studied in historical terms, but this is the first book to examine the ways in which Romans represented war, in both visual imagery and in literary accounts. Audience reception and the reconstruction of display contexts are recurrent themes here, as is the language of images: a language that is sometimes explicit and at other times allusive in its representation of war. The chapters encompass a wide variety of art media (architecture, painting, sculpture, building, relief, coin), and they focus on the towering period of Roman power and international influence: the 3rd century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.
• First book to address Roman representations of war • Goes beyond literal representations of war: also examines literary and allegorical representations • The chapters encompass a wide variety of art media such as architecture, painting, sculpture, building, relief, coin etc.
Introduction Katherine E. Welch; 1. The transformation of victory into power: from event to structure Tonio Holscher; 2. Siege narrative in Livy: representation and reality Jonathan P. Roth; 3. Roman aesthetics and the spoils of Syracuse Myles McDonnell; 4. Domi Militiaeque: Roman domestic aesthetics and war booty in the Republic Katherine E. Welch; 5. The origins of the Roman Scaenae Frons and the architecture of triumphal games in the second century B.C. Laura S. Klar; 6. The bringer of victory: imagery and institutions at the advent of empire Michael Koortbojian; 7. Conquest and desire: Roman Victoria in public and provincial sculpture Rachel Kousser; 8. Women on the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius and the visual language of Roman victory Sheila Dillon; 9. Battle imagery and politics on the Severan arch in the Roman Forum Susann Lusnia; 10. Readings in the narrative literature of Roman courage William V. Harris.
'Anyone interested in Roman preoccupation with war … and the centrality of asserted military success in Roman culture and ideology will want a copy of this book.' Choice
'The reader who seeks to add to their understanding of Roman culture by flipping through the book will be amply rewarded, and historians who might take a dim view of the usefulness of art as a tool for interpreting Roman culture will find themselves repeatedly corrected … The work here demonstrates an ingenious use of art history to open a broad window on Roman society - a lot more of the history of Rome can be explained by the study of looted statues than one might think.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review
'Representations of War is an engaging, well-illustrated and timely collection of essays' The Times Literary Supplement
'… especially for the republican era, Dillon and Welch's book is a significant and welcome addition to the literature.' Cambridge Archaeological Journal
'… handsome … demonstrates an ingenious use of art history to open a broad window on Roman society … deft and wide-ranging …' Bryn Mawr Classical Review
'… a significant and timely contribution to art-historical and cultural studies. In a world in which military historians are still peeling the armour from Trajan's Column as though it were direct evidence of what Roman soldiers wore, these essays offer a refreshing riposte …' Art History
'… a set of interesting and thought-provoking studies on the subject which demonstrate the depth and breadth possible in an important and burgeoning field.' Journal of Roman Studies